20 Jan Simple & Easy Tips to Getting a Better Night’s Sleep!
By Bliss Specialist Jenna Luelo
“Tossing and Turning,” among other common sleep disturbances such as: difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, or waking-up in the morning without feeling “rested,” are not only irritating but negative for our overall well-being. These patterns can not only affect your physical sense of alertness but also your mental and emotional health. Need more evidence? Check out this article on the “8 Ways Sleep Benefits Your Life According to Science”.
Keeping all that in mind, investing some energy into getting a good night’s rest should be a the top of your “To Do” list!
Here are a few Simple & Easy tips to help you get on track for a better sleep experience!
- Start and stick with a routine, even on weekends. Going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time everyday (or as often as possible) is important.
- Find your sleep number! How many hours do you need to wake up rested? For most of us this number falls between 7 and 9 hours. Experiment to see what works best for you.
- Limit the caffeine, especially after 2:00pm (Watch out for hidden culprits!) Caffeine has a half-life of 3 to 5 hours, meaning this is the average amount of time it takes for half of the drug to be processed by your body. So when your tossing and turning look to see if caffeine could be the source. (See this link for a good review on Caffeine).
- Your bed is for sleep (and sex) and nothing else! We can begin to habituate our bed with sleep and restfulness, if we cut out other non-sleep related activities from the bedroom. In line with this theory, if you are tossing and turning, get out of bed and do something relaxing (light reading, meditating, have a cup of warm milk) then try again. Too much tossing and turning can being to habituate your bed with anxiety, so work to make your bedroom a relaxing, comfortable and sleepy place.
- Your night time routine should start about 30 minutes to an hour before you’re ready to hit the sheets. This means engaging in non-stimulating activities to promote calmness and relaxation. Think light reading, yoga/stretching or meditating as a few simple options. This also means putting our electronics to “sleep.” There is mounting evidence to suggest that the light emitted from your TV, phone, and computer can disrupt your natural sleep cycles (Wood et al., 2013). We want to make sure we cut these out in our sleep preparation.
- If you find you can’t “turn off your brain” at night and thinking has become a real sleep disruption, I recommend setting up a session with a trusted psychotherapist to discuss your worries and strategize effective stress management techniques.
I hope these tips have been encouraging for you and provide guidance on how to invest some effort into getting a good night’s rest!
*As with all health information and before you begin any new routine, you should always contact your doctor to make sure there are no underlying health concerns affecting your sleep and a contact a sleep specialist if the problem persists.
National Sleep Foundation. (2015). Retrieved from: http://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/sleep-hygiene
Schardt, D. (2008). Caffeine: The Good, The Bad, and the Maybe. Retrieved from http://www.cspinet.org/nah/02_08/caffeine.pdf
Wood et al., (2013). Light level and duration of exposure determined the impact of self-luminous tablets on melatonin suppression. Applied Egronomics, 44 2), 237-240. doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2012.07.008